Three Galway rowers, Bríon O’Rourke, Eoin Finnegan and Cliodna Nolan are on the world stage this week at the U23 Rowing World Championships in Sarasota, Florida.
The two Galway oarsmen, O'Rourke and Finnegan, were part of the Ireland's coxed fours, while NUIG’s Cliodna Nolan was partnered by UCC's Aoife Casey in the women's lightweight double.
Bríon O’Rourke, a member of the Gráinne Mhaol Club, first tasted international action three years ago at the Home Internationals. An engineering student at GMIT, O’Rourke began his rowing in the Bish under the tutelage of international coach John Walsh, and has continued to progress through the senior rowing system.
The 21-years-old son of Breffini and Fidelma, who are involved with Galway Rowing Club, says this is the biggest challenge of his career to date.
"It’s a huge honour and definitely the highlight of my rowing career so far," he says.
O'Rourke joins Corcullen native Eoin Finnegan in the men's coxed four, and at 18, Finnegan is the youngest competitor at the competiiton. However he is no stranger to elite rowing, having raced at the junior world championships last year in the Czech Republic.
Finnegan is another product of the Bish rowing stable, where he continues to help coach the J14s.
Having spent the last year repeating his Leaving Cert at Yeats College, Finnegan was delighted to be the coxswain for the coxed four.
"It’s a massive honour to represent Ireland again this season. Last season I got the opportunity to race the Junior World Championships and I’m delighted to make the step up to U23 level this season."
Bish and Ireland coach John Walsh says the two oarsmen are a credit to Galway rowing.
"This achievement is the culmination of many years of total commitment to excelling at what they do.”